ayu is a spatial practice focused on delivering architectural design and applicable social research.

What is ayu?

ayu is based in Birmingham, West Midlands. We are positioned at the intersection of art, architecture, and research, and use this position to interrogate and improve the built environment.

We believe that spaces are formed by the identities within them and the meanings that are attached to them over time. Spaces fulfil their potential and find their form when they are used, negotiated, and lived in.

ayu acts as a spatial investigator and translator. We help you, the user, define a space, offering a multi-disciplinary, collaborative, and democratic approach to architectural design.

What do we offer?


Site analysis and feasibility studies


Concept design


Planning applications


Building regulations packages and applications


Tender drawings and construction support


Research projects

Whatever project you have in mind, please get in touch.

The development of ayu and its work is guided by three core principles:


Good design is for everyone.


Everyone should have their own space.


All space has power to be transformative.

1. Good design is for everyone.

2. Everyone should have their own space.

3. All space has power to be transformative.

Dave Baldock Headshot Green
Rianne Houghton Headshot Green

Who is ayu?

ayu is led by Dave Baldock and Rianne Houghton.

Dave is an architectural designer with experience in project delivery in both public and private sectors, along with teaching experience at Birmingham City University. He holds an MArch from Birmingham City University and a BA from Central Saint Martins, London. His MArch thesis was nominated for the inaugural AJ Student Award, and since then he has been involved in various architectural delineation competitions and journal entries.

Rianne is a postgraduate researcher in the School of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, her research explores the impact of domestic violence and abuse on women’s relationships with the ‘home’ – and how the ways in which we navigate and interact with public and private space contribute to our identities.